Sunday, October 4, 2009
We did it! We are through the PRIDE training and boy oh boy was it something else! Before writing new posts I always read the last couple entries just to be sure I'm not leaving any loose ends. Re-visiting the feelings we had towards PRIDE in our last post and experiencing the feelings we have toward PRIDE now are kind of....well, different.
In retrospect we see that the first 15 or so hours were very emotional and hard hitting. The last 15 were training tools to help us through those potential hurdles/unique challenges that adoptive parents may face. We learned that choosing to form your family through adoption can be a very emotional decision and if you base your decision on emotion alone, you may shy away from this "fantasy family" idea and decide that perhaps adoption may not be for you. On the other hand, being knowledgeable will also empower your decision to adopt and your overall journey. Its empowered us. The overall message...Parenting is hard. No matter how you get there and here are some tools that may help. Our message? This is the best decision we have ever made. Overall, it was not boring at all. Actually quite the opposite and I think that it would be awesome if there was something like this for all families.
The group of parents to be that were in the course with us were a great bunch! We really look forward to keeping in touch with some of them and eventually watching our little ones form friendships of their own.
The last couple hours of the course were spent listening to 4 different speakers. The first was an adult Korean adoptee who was adopted in the 60's by a single Caucasian woman with one biological child of her own and one other adopted daughter from India. I'm going to leave her name out but her story was not all "rainbows and butterflies." She struggled (to put it lightly) with her identity growing up but later came to terms and is most certainly (I asked)an advocate of interracial adoptions. She explained that in the 60's there were not the resources available to parents that there are today and she wholeheartedly believes that had they been, her story would be different.
The second speaker was another adult adoptee who was united with her forever family through a closed (no contact with birth parents) domestic adoption in the 50's. In the late 90's she received a phone call from a social worker whom her birth mother had hired to find her and they re-connected. Her story was one that assured us adoptive families in the room that regardless of an open (active contact with birth parents) or closed (no contact with birth parents) adoption, we are our child's Mommy and Daddy. Later, she and her husband formed their family through an international adoption and she was also kind enough to share that story with us.
The third speakers of the day were a couple who have two children through open domestic adoptions. They spoke of their struggle with infertility and how they came to accept the idea of an open adoption.
The final speaker of the day was a girl...lady who had been adopted domestically. It was a closed adoption but when she was 11 she asked her mom if she would help her find her birth mother. Her mom agreed (could you imagine how much courage that took?) and eventually they found her mailing address and allowed the young girl to write the birth mother a letter. I'll mention it b/c it was so sweet. She said that the letter she wrote contained all the important information an 11 year old holds dear. Her favourite food, favourite toys, her hair colour, and her best friends name. :) Isn't that cute?! Two weeks later a letter arrived in her mailbox. "Thank you for your letter, of course I'd love to meet you, would you like to come to visit with your family?" Her family packed up the car and drive the 5 hours to visit for a couple days and they've maintained a healthy relationship since. Now fast forward a few years. This young girl, well not a girl anymore....now 21, becomes pregnant and decides to put together an adoption plan for her son and now is a birth parent in an open adoption herself.
It was so nice to be able to hear a birth parent story. There is a ton of planning, thought and so much love that comes into play with an adoption plan and although our adoption will be closed I often find myself thinking about our child's birth mother and wish her strength, health, love, and support. What she is doing / will do for our child is the most selfless act I can imagine and even though we do not have a photo of our child yet, or believe that he/she are even born, I quietly thank her daily.
All & all we learned a ton from PRIDE and are amped up to be one step closer to getting on that plane to Korea to meet our baby for the first time! Above is our entire PRIDE group and of course we had to get a pic of M and I being presented our certificate! Proud parents to be! :)
Hey! Funny side note- Because we knew that today was going to be our last class, we were told to bring our cameras to take pictures for our baby's "lifebook". Well, we had a good laugh getting ready this morning thinking about the day that our son or daughter looks at this photo and says "Oh my gosh! Look at how you guys were dressed!Hahaha" :)